Ronaldo relishing Inter battle

Cristiano Ronaldo is predicting a "titanic" battle between Manchester United and Inter Milan in the San Siro tonight.

The world player of the year is aiming to be part of the first side to retain the Champions League trophy since it was formed in 1992.

But there could have been few more arduous tests than the runaway Serie A leaders, who United meet at the same last-16 stage Jose Mourinho knocked them out at in 2004 with eventual winners FC Porto.

And, while Ronaldo is confident the holders will get through, he recognises Inter will not be disposed of without a mighty battle.

"It is going to be a titanic fight," he said.

"Inter are top of Serie A which tells you immediately they are a good team who are going to give us a tough game.

"But we are playing well, which should give us confidence. We just have to be ready."

With fellow countryman Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson at odds over when the tie will actually be decided, Ronaldo prefers to concentrate on what would be a good result for the visitors.

Like his manager, the star winger acknowledges United's formidable home record will give them a chance to progress providing their injury-hit squad avoids a similar calamity to the one they suffered on their last visit to the San Siro two years ago when AC Milan scored three times without reply to cause Ferguson more semi-final heartache.

"A good result is a win but if we draw it is not bad because Inter know it will be difficult to beat us in Manchester," added Ronaldo.

Ferguson will take a late check on the fitness of John O'Shea and Jonny Evans before finalising his line-up.

O'Shea is more likely to shrug off the pain of a sore heel than Evans is to battle through an ankle injury, but if either are fit it would at least give Rio Ferdinand a partner in central defence.

Fabio Da Silva - whose twin brother Rafael is absent with an injured ankle - and Darren Fletcher stand by to fill the right-back slot.

"My options? I panic!" said Ferguson, only half-jokingly when asked what he would do if both his Irishmen were ruled out.

"I suppose I could play Dimitar Berbatov as a sweeper."

At a time when plausible rivals on the domestic front are disappearing, the United chief is relishing a meeting of minds with Mourinho, who has only lost one of their previous 12 head-to-head duels.

There has never been anything worse that a healthy rivalry between the two men, with opinion growing that Mourinho will one day succeed Ferguson at Old Trafford.

And, as he enjoys a fabulous climax to his own career, Ferguson credits Mourinho's arrival in England for giving his team the edge they had lost.

"When Jose came there was a great upsurge at Chelsea," he said.

"I remember he uttered those words 'I am the Special One' and it seemed to galvanise the whole club. They won the first two titles under his management and their starts just caught us on the hop.

"By the time we got to October in that first season we were trying to play catch-up. It gave them the upper hand over everyone really."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence